Jerry Ortiz y Pino, chair of the Senate Public Affairs Committee
N.M. SENATE News:
SANTA FE – Wednesday, the Senate Public Affairs Committee, in a straight party line vote, passed a substitute bill for Senate Bills 314, 368 and 268, designed to allow counties to come up with funding solutions to cover Medicaid and Medicare cuts to hospitals statewide.
The compromise provides for counties to impose an excise tax of one-twelfth percent of gross receipts. A representative from the New Mexico Association of Counties said counties were in agreement with the proposal. A hospital advocate who attended the meeting said the one-twelfth percent would still not be enough to fund the program.
An additional amendment requires that no action for collection of claims shall be allowed against any patient deemed indigent.
“It must be a perfect compromise because no one’s completely happy,” Committee Chair Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Bernalillo said. “There is still a bit of a gap of about $10 million that we’re hoping the state will cover.”
Earlier in the week, certain committee members stated that a compromise needed to be reached that would allow quality rural healthcare to be provided without passing the cost onto county taxpayers.